Robert Macfarlane reflects on the influence of The Monkey Wrench Gang
"Abbey spent years in grad school in New Mexico during the 1950s, flipping between the library and the landscape. His master's thesis was entitled "Anarchism and the Morality of Violence", and it compared Godwin, Proudhon and Bakunin. When he wasn't writing his thesis (which was most of the time), he was working as a fire-watcher and forest ranger in the national parks of the southwest. During those years, he thought his way through and beyond Thoreauvian civil disobedience, and into the world of direct action. He tested out his conclusions in non-fiction in the bestselling and bracingly grumpy Desert Solitaire (1968), and then fictionally in The Monkey Wrench Gang. When it was published, Jim Harrison described it approvingly in a New York Times review as "a violently revolutionary novel". So it proved to be."
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